What is in your self-care toolkit? Also, what is this mumbo jumbo hippie talk about self-care?
When I used to hear this or people would say to me in my 20’s ‘Look after you’, I’d think – ‘Yeah, I am good. What an odd thing to say?’….My self-care toolkit consisted of a night out drinking to get drunk and being hungover for days! Ugh. I cringe sometimes when I think about how I really abused my body. Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. For sure, I had some epic nights with friends that I don’t regret but I started to stray into an unhealthy territory and was taking things to the nth degree. I started to compromise myself, my values and my body in unfulfilling intimate relationships and also at jobs that I didn’t particularly enjoy. And so I drank….and drank. It was a bit of a wake up call when a stranger called an ambulance for me because I had way too much to drink one night. That was the beginning of the end of my binge drinking and alcohol abuse because I was scared by what I was choosing to do to my body.
Now, in my late thirties and perhaps (perhaps haha) a tiny bit wiser! I am a huge advocate for self-care.
Self-care is not selfish. It means carving out time to nourish your body, mind and spirit with choices that fill you up, rather than leave you exhausted, emotionally, physically and energetically and unable to give to anyone or anything else.
Self-care is the art of inner listening, moving from your thinking brain and saying yes to what your body needs. Each person will have a unique self-care tool kit.
What does your self-care toolkit look like? Here are some questions to get you started:
- How can you forgive yourself and others for past mistakes, learn the lesson and move forward?
- What activities bring you joy? E.g. do you feel better surfing, walking, listening to music or yoga?
- What foods leave your body feeling nourished? Sure, ice cream nourishes the taste buds and soul, but may not necessarily nourish your gut if you eat ice cream every meal (I am talking to myself here and reminding myself to go easy on the ice cream because I love ice cream pretty hard! ;-))
- What helps to settle your brain? E.g. Journalling, art, meditation
- Who brings you joy? E.g. Family, friends, children
- How is your sleeping routine? An irregular sleeping routine can wreak havoc on your body
- Do you take regular breaks at work?
- What inspires you? E.g. travelling
So many questions!
Have a read through Maria Baratta’s article called Self Care 101. Worth the read!
I have developed a personal self-care toolkit which has supported me in recent years. This is what is in my self-care toolkit now:
- Yoga. Of course! 🙂
- Gym 3 x a week
- Regular journalling (5 x week)
- Daily meditation
- Daily prayer
- Volunteering and connecting with my local community
- Family time
- Friends time
- Regular breaks at work and lunch away from my desk
- Tracking my menstrual cycle which has led to a greater awareness and respect for my body and mind
When I became sick with depression and anxiety, I didn’t incorporate any of the activities above. I didn’t have a self-care toolkit to hold me. These activities bring me great joy…and sometimes admittedly, I feel lazy and would rather sleep than meditate. However, when I do sit myself down to meditate, I feel way better. I also know if I forgo this self-care practice, I am risking my mental health and well-being. I don’t want to get sick again! Depression and anxiety sux big time. 🙁
A key step to recovery was seeking out expert support from doctors, therapists, counsellors and life coaches. I embraced a regular yoga practice, movement (walking to begin with) and also started started reading as much as possible about depression to understand what the heck was happening to my brain. I completed a meditation course, started going to half day yoga workshops, yoga retreats and yoga teacher training. Out of a really shitty time with depression and anxiety has come a greater understanding of my body and mind and spirit.
I love this quote from Tiny Buddha:
If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.
Adopting a self-care practice has enabled me to find some level of peace in what was an anxious and very busy mind. Something to think about as you develop your self-care toolkit!
I encourage you to commit to yourself and take good care.
Love Roxy xo